Contact information

Department of Linguistics
2016 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
GV*: (609) 759-0562

Brief Overview

I am interested in how lexical, hierarchical, and prosodic cues affects sentence processing. What cues are available to the parser during structure building? Prosodic grouping, boundaries tones, and pauses help disambiguation, certainly, but can the parser use these cues to avoid costly mistakes altogether? Lexical frequency information, such as verbal argument structure, is implicated in garden path effects, but does the parser have access to this information as it is initially constructing the parse, or does it only refer to this information in cases where reanalysis is necessary? These questions drive my research. The syntactic structures I primarily work with are self-embedded center-embedded sentences (e.g., [1]) and locally ambiguous garden-path sentences (e.g., [2]).
  1. The jolly barber who the angry archer threatened hid in fear.
  2. Whenever he leaves the house [it's / is] dark.
    • Whenever he leaves, the house is dark.
    • Whenever he leaves the house, it's dark.
Intuitively, both of these constructions are made more clear by the addition of explicit prosodic phrasing. However, in silent reading, no such explicit cues are available. Still, we are able to find a coherent interpretation of these sentences during reading. Based on this observation, I use eye-tracking-while-reading and acceptability-rating experiments to investigate which cues the parser uses in real time.

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